Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: To the Master Vincomalus.
CXL. To the Master Vincomalus. 1986
I have been much astonished to learn that your magnificence, though quite unacquainted with me and mine, and knowing only the wrong that had been done me, stood up as my advocate, and left no means untried to undo the results of the conspiracy against me. But your excellency will assuredly receive recompense from our bountiful Lord, for He who promised to give a reward for a little water will doubtless give greater recompense to the givers of greater gifts.
I have indeed endured such sufferings as none, or at least very few, of the ancients have undergone, and this not only from my open foes, but, as I apprehend, from my real friends. The former attacked me, the latter betrayed me.
Who in the world ever heard of such a trial? Who ever commanded a criminal to be tried in his absence after chaining him up at a distance of more than five and thirty stages? What judge has ever been so savage and inhuman as not only to try men, aye but to condemn men the sound of whose voice he has never heard, and this in most savage and inhuman fashion? The Lord has ordered the erring brother, who spurns advice, after a first, second and third admonition, to be treated as “an heathen man and a publican.” 1987 Now these most equitable and righteous judges have not even given to them of the same faith with themselves the treatment which they give to heathen men and publicans. These indeed they do see and occasionally converse with, and that with all honour and deference where they appear to be of rank and dignity. But they have ordered me to be cut off from home, from water, from everything. This is the way in which they have wished to become imitators of our Father in heaven “Who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good p. 309 and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” 1988 But of these men I will say no more. The tribunal of the Lord is at hand where is required not stage pretence but the reality of life. Now I beseech your excellency to express my thanks to the emperor, the lover of Christ and victorious, and to the very pious and godly Augusta, for having made true religion the firm root of their pious empire, and to implore their majesties to make the peace of the churches firm by commanding the assembling of a council, not of men of violence who throw the discussion into confusion, but of the lovers of the truth who confirm the apostolic teaching, and repudiate this new fangled and spurious heresy. And I pray that of these honourable endeavours you may reap the fruit at the hands of our loving Lord.
The internal evidence of the letter makes it synchronize with the preceding. The advocacy of the cause of Theodoretus by Vincomalus is the more striking in that it does not appear to have been suggested by personal friendship. Vincomalus was Consul Designate in 452. (Dict. Christ. Biog. iv. 1159. Labbe iv. 843.) Magister = “Magister Officiorum,” cf. note on p. 283.308:1987
Matt. xviii. 17309:1988
Matt. v. 45
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